Mohawk In The Shower

A Wimp’s Guide To Taking A Cold Shower

I think I’ve taken more cold showers than heated showers thus far on The Happy Nomad Tour. I’ve developed a bit of a system since I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold despite growing up in extremely cold Cleveland, Ohio. So, here is a wimp’s guide to taking a cold shower should you find yourself perpetually taking them.

1. Mentally prepare. You’re about to shock your body with cold water. If the outside temperature is cold, you’re in for a double dose of coldness. Parts of your body you didn’t know could turn purple will turn purple. Don’t be alarmed. It’s all for the sake of cleanliness.

My Cold Shower In Chichica, Panama

My Cold Shower In Chichica, Panama

2. Rinse your hair. Despite being the vent so much of your heat escapes from, the head is surprisingly insensitive to cold showers. Bend over so the runoff water doesn’t come in contact with your body. Just rinse your head thoroughly while keeping the rest of your body dry.

3. Shampoo your hair. Making silly designs out of your hair is optional.

Mohawk In The Shower

Mohawk In The Shower

4. Stand up. Now stand up straight and let the beads of cold water run down the rest of your body. There won’t be much water, but it’ll be a warning to the rest of your body for what is about to come.

4a. Manual awakening. This step is optional and only for the wimpiest of wimps, myself included. Get your hand wet and introduce its coldness to the dry parts of your body. You’ll have to do this repeatedly as the coldness has a short lifespan due to your warm hand. Doing this reduces some of the shock of what’s to come.

5. Soap it up. Now is the dreaded part. You have to apply the cold water to your body to be able to properly soap yourself. So, get wet, try not to scream (yes, even local people screamed while taking cold showers here) and apply the soap.

Public Bathing On A Street In Calcutta, India

Public Bathing On A Street In Calcutta, India

6. Pause in bewilderment. The shock of the cold water is very short-lived. Assuming the outside temperature isn’t too low, notice how quickly your body seems to respond to the cold intrusion by warming itself up. I can’t explain this scientifically, but it always happens. It doesn’t mean you are all of a sudden comfortable, but it’s far more comfortable than you’d think. Similarly, I’ve re-entered bathrooms after taking a cold shower only to discover the warm humidity you’d expect after taking a hot shower. Our bodies are amazing furnaces!

7. Final rinse. Rinse the shampoo and soap off your body.

8. Dry off. Depending on the air temperature this can be comfortable or a race against hypothermia.

8a. Hurry up. When the temperature is cold dry off as quickly as possible. Take measures to warm up again, whether drinking something warm or getting under some blankets. At times on this trip, in places like Dharamsala, India and Cartago, Costa Rica and Yauya, Peru this has proven to be very difficult. I have taken hours to warm back up again and de-purple-ize my extremeties.

9. Get dressed.

10. Repeat when necessary.

Disclaimer: If this sounds like a fantastic way to waste water, note that I always turn the water off in between steps when using a Western-style shower, but more often than not it’s a bucket where there is no wastage at all.

Bucket Shower In India

Bucket Shower In India

18 replies
  1. Jonny Blair
    Jonny Blair says:

    Great post Adam!! Some nice tips there – I actually dont mind the cold showers that much, but then again I admittedly dont spend much time in hot showers either when i get them – in and out and as long as i feel clean im good to go!

    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      I wish I didn’t mind cold showers. I’ve gotten better, but I’m still a wimp. It just takes a lot of effort to get warm again. It’s like opening the furnace door and all the heat escapes 🙂

  2. Ash Clark
    Ash Clark says:

    Having once been in the army, I can truly say I ve taken my fair share of cold showers in my time!

    Cold showers suposedly increase testosterone levels in males if its any bonus!

  3. Susan
    Susan says:

    Noooooo! Introducing the cold water slowly is the worst thing to do! You just have to go balls out and cannon ball into the frigid water and hurry up! You can’t prolong the torture! I vehemently disagree!!!

  4. Adrienne
    Adrienne says:

    U has experience as a child of cold water.

    At my mothers home we had no heat in the middle of the summer, and that was fine by me. But what it meant was extremely cold showers that made a 13 year old girl cry.

    I had to be forced into the shower.
    Now if I have cold showers at my home, I ask my pals if I can sleep over. 😉

  5. Jamie Shanks
    Jamie Shanks says:

    I want to take cold showers. Cold November in Scotland is probably not the best time to start. Today I finished work, had dinner and pumped myself up for my first cold shower. In the cold bathroom, I got undressed and thought “Brrr, its freezing and I closed the window”. Then I realised if I found that if I found standing naked in a bathroom with the window slightly open uncomfortable how the hell am I getting in a cold shower. I stood in shower got my hands wet, got my feet wet but there was no way on earth I was getting in. I think I need to toughen up first, but how!

  6. Regina
    Regina says:

    We were forced to – water heater died. Waiting for new one. Had no idea my husband and stepson from Honduras had NEVER experienced hot water until moving to the US. I was okay the second time – it’s just like the shock of diving into an unheated pool – you warm up within seconds. Dad is okay – son got used to hot water in the US and is suddenly deconditioned ad demanding to know when new hot water will be in.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] in Myanmar – $8 for a simple room with a fan. The bathroom was in another building and had no hot water, but no problem for […]

  2. […] A Wimp’s Guide To Taking A Cold Shower This post by Adam on Happiness Plunge made me think of the cold bucket shower I had in the Himalayas in Nepal. He has some fun and practical tips for surviving a cold shower yourself. […]

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